Update and Information on Constitutional Amendments Currently Presented
Here are some of the items covered with relevant updates…
Don Devries, Candidate for Interim Lead Pastor
As you might recall Don Devries preached to us last Sunday (12/17) and then brought some remarks to us at the Family Meeting (12/17) and provided a bio. While we don’t have a thorough transcript of his remarks, Don has recently co-written a paper that explains his view of healthy pastoral ministry through many years as a pastor. Please let us know if you would like a copy.
Linked here is his bio (recently edited from the Covenant Life Church website).
Don will once again be preaching for our church on January 7th. We are hoping to line up more opportunities for you all to meet Don and Trisha and will let you know when those are able to be arranged.
How we’re asking for your help: Though we believe, along with the Adjudication Board findings and some of you, that the need for a lead pastor is crucial and immediate, we want to let you know that we want walk through this process together. We will not be appointing any interim lead pastor without allowing opportunities for members to engage with the candidate in meetings like we had last Sunday, to ask questions and let us know concerns, as well as asking the entire church to provide feedback in an affirmation process concerning any candidate before reaching a decision. In that light, we would ask you to take time to invest in any way you can in getting to know Don via his time spent with us, his bio, and perhaps his paper (available upon request). Additionally, we would also like to hear from you even now on any concerns or questions you have on Don or this process. Please send us any feedback via Becca’s email or to any of the elders via email below.
We’ll be providing another update on the interim lead pastor search at the next Family Meeting on January 14th. *Adjusted to January 21st.*
Elder Board Temporary Expansion:
As most of you know Fred Catoe will be stepping down from the elder team in January to go on a year long sabbatical. When Fred steps off, the board will consist of only 2 acting elders (Greg and Albert).
In light of this, and including hearing from members at various family meetings and P&Ps concerning a desire to see the the board expanded, the board voted in early November to seek an expansion of the elder team upon Fred’s departure to 5 men via a special clause in the Constitution. This clause allows the board to appoint temporary acting elders from among the care group leaders and outside the normal Constitutional vetting process whenever the elder team is less than 3 men.
That clause reads as follows:
From Article 7 Section A:
Whenever possible, the number of elders on the BOE shall not be less than three men. If such a minimum number is not possible, all available elders shall select interim BOE members from among the male deacons or care group leaders (should there be an insufficient number of deacons). These members shall serve until additional elders can be identified and appointed to the BOE.
Utilizing this clause in the Constitution, the board has asked the following care group leaders to prayerfully consider acting as temporary interim elders for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12, or unless they may be replaced by an elder nominated by the normal Constitutional process.
- David Adams
- John Barr
- Mike Steele
We are really grateful that Mike, John, and David, and their wives are willing to consider helping our board in a crucial season.
How we’re asking for your help: We are asking for your participation in this interim elder process by giving us your thoughts on these men. Linked here is a form we’d ask you to fill out that asks for your feedback. If you can fill this out and send back to Becca or any of the elders by January 12th we would greatly appreciate it. (Email addresses provided below.)
If at all possible, would like to close the comment period by Jan 12th - though we will still take any comments after that period. Our hope is that, Lord willing, we would like to have any new interim elders through this process join the team no later than January 30.
Finally, we also want you to know that it is our desire to optimally vet elders via the normal and longer Constitutional process which includes member nominations and various vetting procedures outline therein (see Article VII, Section G). This temporary expansion with interim elders, however, is more of a Constitutional stop gap measure when broader leadership in more urgently needed.
Concerning the normal vetting process, Greg Wilson is leading the work to complete the protocols needed so that we can begin vetting candidates through that process. He will be bringing an update on this at the next Family Meeting, January 14th. *Adjusted to January 21st.*
We will bring you an update at the January 14th Family Meeting on where we are in this all of this. *Adjusted to January 21st.*
Requesting Names for Deacons
One of the Adjudication Board’s findings was that identifying deacons and deaconate work was vital to health on the board and in the church, especially in this season.
Deacons can serve the church members and the elders by providing service to areas of work such as:
- Church logistics and Sunday Service Support
- Church Building Search
- Communications and Media
- Member Safety
- Local Outreach & Global Missions
How we’re asking for your help: To that end we would like to ask you to send us names of men you believe would be wise and of Spirit-led character (see 1 Timothy 3:8–13) who might be willing to serve as deacons. We would also ask that you consider areas you believe their service could be most helpful, including other areas we’re not thinking of, so please add your own ideas to that list. Please let us know of names and areas of service via an email to Becca or directly to any of the elders (emails below).
Further more we wanted to let you know that Matthew McMahon and Chris Shullenbarger have offered to be considered as deacons. Mathew currently supports Sunday worship as a lead coordinator and Chris supports Children’s Ministry as a lead coordinator. We are deeply grateful for their willingness to be considered.
We will bring you an update by January 14th on where we are in this process. *Adjusted to January 21st.*
Constitutional Amendments: Female Deacon and Interim Lead Pastor
There are two Constitutional amendments we want to bring to your attention.
1. Female Deacon Amendment for affirmation: One is an amendment to allow us to approve women in the church to serve as deaconesses. This amendment is included in the attachment linked here titled “Proposed Constitutional Amendments”. Because this amendment has been before the church for many months past the 60-day review period required by the Constitution we would like to bring this before the church for formal affirmation on December 31st. Following this member affirmation tally, we will disclose the results of the church-wide affirmation to the church and the elders will bring a final decision to the church soon after.
- The document titled “Background on Female Deacons” contains some background on church offices in general and a summary of the study group’s work regarding female deacons. Also included are some communications we sent out last March regarding this topic.
- The document titled “Responses of Female Deacon Study Group” containing the summary responses of the study group that reviewed the question of female deacons earlier this year is also linked here.
2. Interim Lead Pastor Amendment for review: The second amendment included in the attachment called “Proposed Constitutional Amendments” is one that would allow us to call for church wide affirmation and elder approval for an interim lead pastor candidate. Currently we do not have the ability to bring an interim lead pastor onboard with the timeliness we feel is important in this season. Therefore, we are bringing this amendment before you for your consideration.
The amendment in the attachment linked here begins the 60-day review period for the church required by the Constitution on all amendments. We will be providing additional opportunities to discuss the amendment as required before we would bring it the church for final affirmation after the 60-day review period.
How we’re asking for your help:
For the Female Deaconess Amendment, we are hoping to ask your formal affirmation via ballot next Sunday December 31st. We will provide the ballot, you provide your “affirm”, “do not affirm”, or “abstain” and any comments. We will then record your response and report it to the church before resolving the final decision soon after the 31st.
For the Interim Lead Pastor Amendment, since this is the first time you will have seen the proposed amendment, we simply ask at this time that you study it and send us any feedback you have for us to Becca or the elders via the emails below. Ask any questions and propose any changes you think would be wise. And please stay tuned for more information about a meeting opportunity to discuss it. Please remember this amendment will not be passed without a formal affirmation process involving the whole church via the Constitution, and that only after a 60-day review period for your evaluation.
One last item to mention here is the question of a permanent lead pastor, including a search committee for this person. While we have some thoughts we could share, including how we might hope this search could possibly be informed by the interim lead pastor question, we need to do more thinking and more listening on this question. As in all of these things, we welcome your thoughts and questions. We hope bring you more on this at the January 14th Family Meeting. Adjusted to January 21st.*
Folks, we know this is a lot. But we’re hopeful that you will see here some of the fruit of trying to grow through the difficulties of this year and more. We ask your prayers for our church and we ask your participation in any ways you feel you can.
Again, we look forward to bringing you updates on these issues and more at our January 14th Family Meeting. Adjusted to January 21st.*
God bless you and Merry Christmas,
Greg, Fred, and Albert
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